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TLC for the home PC

01 Jul 2007

The home computer is increasingly becoming the hub of people’s lives. Family photos from last year’s holiday in Rarotonga, the video of the children’s school play, financial and legal documents, emails and contacts, and even favourite recipes are all stored on the PC.  Most of the sentimental memories and vital information people need to run their lives reside within that box sitting on the desk. However, only about 33 percent of people have effective antivirus protection according to Microsoft market research.  The majority of people don’t have sufficient protection from outside intrusions and don’t even know how to access the tools they already have included in their operating system to protect their increasingly important data.  Even basic PC maintenance like regular defragging is an unfamiliar concept to most home users. The latest computer security products, like Windows Live OneCare, take an holistic maintenance and protection approach, offering much more than just antivirus.  To be truly effective, a protection product must be designed for its users and their habits and skill levels.  Otherwise security features go unused while non-technical users mistakenly believe they’re protected.  The features included in Windows Live OneCare are designed for non-technical home PC or small office users.  These users – the vast majority of consumers – don’t want to worry about constantly updating and maintaining their computer and tend to treat backups as a ’nice idea’ but not essential.  This is a sizeable market opportunity for the channel, and an ideal product to bundle when selling home or small office PCs.Protecting files and informationOneCare automatically helps protect the PC with its antivirus and antispyware scanners, anti-phishing technology and two-way firewall.  Running 24/7 in the background it constantly updates the latest definitions and automates security.  Users also have the choice to scan individual files, folders or documents on demand.Two of the industry’s leading independent certification authorities, International Computer Security Association (ICSA) Labs and West Coast Labs, have tested and certified Windows Live OneCare as effective anti-virus protection.  These labs are widely recognised as key authorities within the industry for research, intelligence and certification testing for anti-malware products.  Both ICSA and West Coast Labs employ testing methodologies that reflect malware threats that are “out in the wild” so these tests serve as important measures of OneCare’s performance against real world threats.Performance tune-ups and back-upsMany customers simply don’t know how to do basic PC maintenance such as disk cleaning and defragmentation.  We wouldn’t treat our car that way, yet users wonder why their PC gets slower over the years.  Performance tune-ups combine key performance-enhancing tasks together and kick them off automatically, even inspecting the entire hard drive to find the right files to back up. OneCare takes the lead on backups, reminding users when to backup data and making it easy to restore files.  For many people this is one of the most important features. Peace of mind for non-technical usersOneCare is clearly aimed at protecting the home PC user.  It is easy to install and has a basic control panel.  Even the licensing, an annual subscription rate of $119 covering up to three Windows XP or Windows Vista-based computers, is family orientated.  As long as customers keep their subscription active, they get automatic version and feature upgrades.  An unlimited email, online and phone help centre for OneCare is also available to customers when they get stuck. By handling security and PC care behind the scenes, people can have peace of mind that when they get home they will be able to cook that chicken casserole, send their mother-in-law digital photos of their new grandchild and confidently pay the power bill online with their credit card.  OneCare looks after that increasingly important box on the desk.  

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